Inmate Harassment of Corrections Staff
Request submitted by Susan Jones (Colorado)
I am working on a project on the issue of inmate perpetrated harassment of corrections staff (such as indecent exposure, sexually abusive gesturing, sexually abusive verbal statements, other types of sexually abusive actions). Can you share with me the following information?
Does your agency define sexually abusive/harassing actions of inmates as sexual harassment?
If so, is this clearly part of the sexual harassment training?
If not, is this type of behavior addressed anywhere in your training?
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Response from Gary Hill (NE)…
I am sharing this with Susan Kunkle. She is heading an effort with our International Corrections and Prisons Association Staff Training and Development group on female staff. She, and her sub-committee, may have now or in the near future information that fits with your efforts.
Response from Jean Delozier (ND)…
In our department it is defined in the inmate handbook as a level 2 infraction (mid-range with 1 being the lowest level) with the following wording.
“Sexual harassment” includes sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal comments, gestures, or actions of a derogatory or offensive sexual nature by one inmate directed toward any person, and includes demeaning references to gender, sexually suggestive or derogatory comments about body or clothing, or obscene language or gestures.
The harassment training we had recently focused completely on staff to staff behavior. We are rolling out a two new training modules developed by the Moss group in 2019 that we don’t know all the content for. One is specific to cross-gender supervision but my impression is the focus is on professional staff conduct and identifying boundaries. Staff being subjected to sexual harassment from residents is something we do not currently train on specifically.
Response from Brent Parker (CO)…
Following retirement from the Colorado DOC, I worked at the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center. Both agencies treated inmate sexual behavior the same way...
Policy addressed Inmate “Sexual Misconduct” and “Verbal Abuse” as a Rule or Code of Penal Discipline violation. This included all the types of behavior mentioned in your request. A Rule violation resulted in a hearing and sanctions, which might include ad seg and loss of privileges. If the behavior went far enough to warrant a criminal charge, this would be made and referred to the local DA and courts for charges and disposition.
Both CDOC and FCSO covered these behaviors in various staff (Pre-Service and In-Service) training programs. Classes including these discussions were; Staff / Inmate Interactions/Communication, Code Violations, Hearing Process, Games Inmates Play, Staff Professionalism/Sexual Harassment and of course, PREA.